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I want to point out that while Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto, b.k.a. Pablo Neruda is Chile’s most celebrated poet who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971, DOES come with baggage that I considered not publishing him at all.

From a page in Neruda’s memoir, he describes raping a maid in Ceylon, where he occupied a diplomatic post in 1929.

Although the memoir was published more than 40 years ago, the passage has only become the subject of debate in recent years, said Vergara Sánchez.

“We have started to demystify Neruda now, because we have only recently begun to question rape culture.”

Isabel Allende, the author and women’s rights campaigner, argued that Neruda’s work still had value. “Like many young feminists in Chile I am disgusted by some aspects of Neruda’s life and personality,” she told the Guardian. “However, we cannot dismiss his writing.”

“Very few people – especially powerful or influential men – behave admirably. Unfortunately, Neruda was a flawed person, as we all are in one way or another, and Canto General is still a masterpiece,” she said.

If you’d like to learn more how his controversy came to light, check out this debate from 2018.

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